Washington, Apr 29 : PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari deserves much of the credit for not letting Pakistan descend into corruption and mismanagement following elections, said an article published in the Washington Times today.
Zardari had outlined some ambitious and forward-looking goals to him, and was concerned not only with jobs, shelter, clothing, food and education for the people of Pakistan, but with totally reforming the country, politically, economically and socially, said the article written by Thomas Houlahan, a Pakistan election observer with the Centre for Media and Democracy
"I could sense a firm determination to meet those goals," Houlahan wrote and added that Zardari had selected competent people without any serious taint of corruption for top jobs in the new government.
Houlahan also wrote in the article that Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has shown no inclination to seek a showdown with President Pervez Musharraf, and had made it clear that his removal was not a priority for it. Concerns in the US that Zardari would pull Pakistan out of the war on terror have also proved ill-founded, he added.
He further wrote: "It is true the PPP government is going to de-emphasise military operations in the areas bordering Afghanistan. However, it is doing so not because it is soft on terror but because military operations alone have not been effective. As a result, the government is essentially launching a social offensive, to clean up the festering problems that provide fertile ground for the recruiters of terrorists. So far, so good, thanks largely to Zardari."
In the article Houlahan recalled that when he met Zardari shortly after the February 18 elections, he was struck by a number of things, the most obvious and surprising of which was his "almost total lack of bitterness" considering that he had spent 11 years in prison on charges that ultimately were dropped. "A desire to seek retribution against the people who put or kept him there would have been understandable. 'There are things that have to be done for Pakistan that need to be attended to immediately,' Zardari said, adding, 'I don't have time for it'," he added.